In September 2017, a draft masterplan for new Jurong Lake District (JLD) was released. According to that, in future, Jurong in the West of Singapore will be developed a dynamic city which has an attraction like the Central Business District in South.
The area own 360 ha land site, expected to complete from 2040 onward, and offer from 100,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes. It will also boast waterfront retail options by Jurong lake and access to many major MRT stations.
Especially, the upcoming High Speed Rail terminus which will be completed in 2026 is very closed to Jurong area. When it finished, it will connect Singapore to Kuala Lumpur directly and open the district's access to a market of 10 million.
Many experts hope that Jurong will be a smart and eco-friendly district with district cooling systems and a common services tunnel which designed to avoid the traffic jam and save the money, time and energy for the citizen.
However, a matter is posed, does Singapore need another CBD? and will it be possible?
Jurong Lake District masterplan
The first reason, many people considered that Singapore's acreage is not enough big to sustain multiple hubs. Currently, besides the Central Business District, there are 4 hubs, Tampines (since 1992), Jurong (since 2008), Woodlands (since 2008) and Seletar is in the work. They think the Central Business District is the financial heartbeat of the nation, and Jurong is the centre of firms which work in the maritime services, IT, infrastructure, energy and the built environment.
The second, that is the lesson from other nations in the world. Many people know Canary Wharf in London, Pudong in Shanghai and Parramatta in Sydney is the typical examples for the success of the second business hub in a nation.
"The JLD will grow, and the current CBD will grow too - it's not a question of one over the other," Dr Steven Choo, the chairman of real estate advisory firm Vestasia Group said.
But the citizen's demand such as lifestyle, real estate need, etc that can be changed following the time, the government must make a detail plan for Jurong Lake District masterplan.
We cannot fully anticipate the type of demand that will come in over the decades, but we must be able to adjust and be flexible" said Dr Choo of the ambitious target. "It's scary if we don't get it right, but it'll be scarier if we don't plan for it."
The last one, when it will be developed, will it involve other areas? The industry experts hope that Jurong Lake District will connect to other parts of Singapore. International Property Advisory chief executive Ku Swee Yong would like to see the nexus of Jurong Lake District (JLD) with Jurong Industrial District (JID) which is the upcoming industrial park. JID can be the ideal destination for students, researchers, businesses and innovators. URA spokesman tells they will "work closely with the economic agencies to create synergies between JLD and JID".
They considered that government should build a smart city, it will be an essential for the modern area. Public transport network need be focus than before to decrease the traffic pressure. Resolve this matter, the success of the future Jurong Lake District is within reach. That is the reason why current authorities focus on High Speed Rail's development in this area.
The biggest advantage of Jurong Lake District is a large greenfield site. Planners are providing for well-connected transport infrastructure from the start. Other helpful developments would be a range of landed and low-rise condominiums with smart elements and waterfront views as their selling points.
Ms Li said that Jurong Lake District has the opportunity to become another Sentosa in the suburbs. Over the longer term, the diversity of commercial activities and housing options could help to underpin demand for residential housing,
According to Population White Paper in 2013, the population is estimated about 6.9 million in 2030. Dr Choo said the job of planners is to ensure sufficient space and growth areas for the generations to come.
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Adapted from The Straits Time, Sep 21th 2017.